U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken noted that Russia’s “playbook” was to build up forces near the border and then invade, “claiming falsely that it was provoked.”

The Kremlin on Monday strongly rejected the U.S. claims of a Russian troop buildup near Ukraine, saying it could be a ruse intended to cover up what it described as Ukrainian leadership’s aggressive intentions, AP reports.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov dismissed U.S. media allegations of Moscow’s purported plans to invade Ukraine as part of efforts to discredit Russia. He insisted that troop movements on Russia’s own territory shouldn’t concern anyone.

Ukraine complained earlier this month that Russia has kept tens of thousands of troops not far from the two countries’ borders after conducting war games in an attempt to further pressure its ex-Soviet neighbor. Russia annexed Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula in 2014 and has supported a separatist insurgency that broke out that year in eastern Ukraine.

Speaking to Ukraine’s foreign minister this month, Secretary of State Antony Blinken noted that Russia’s “playbook” was to build up forces near the border and then invade, “claiming falsely that it was provoked.”

Kyrylo Budanov, the head of Ukraine’s military intelligence, said in an interview with the Military Times over the weekend that Russia has concentrated 92,000 troops near Ukraine and could launch an attack from several directions, including from Belarus, in late January or early February.

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